The invention of the hammock

Flying in southward direction to Trinidad I
could already see some lights in the dark on the Caribbean islands
below. I was sitting next to a Trinidadian lady and I asked her about
the easiest way to get to the Coral Cove marina. She advised me to take a
taxi by daylight, and told me to watch out since there would be many
people trying to rob tourists. We talked a bit about the sailing trip,
and she liked the adventure of sailing between the islands.

When the airplane lowered and approached Trinidad
I could see the silhouette of the Island and was guessing where Lotta
would approximately be. By morning light I took a taxi to the Coral Cove
marina in Chaguaramas, and the taxi driver advised me to ask at
security where Lotta would be. Unfortunately security didn’t know. Then a
friendly and helpful guy working at the Marina walked by and told me
that he knew some young Europeans who recently arrived in the harbour. I
walked along with him, and saw Lotta close to the end of the pier. It
was really nice to meet Simon, Elena and David again after the goodbye
party in august, and to meet Vera and Arno. And it was a really fun
experience to be looking for Lotta so far away from home and then
finding her in the Caribbean.

On Saturday morning 5 january at about we said
goodbye to Chaguaramas and sailed to Scotland bay. On the way we waved
goodbye to Buena Onda and sounded our manually blown horn, they replied
by manual waving and sounded their impressively loud compressor driven
horn. After a little bit of sailing we anchored in Scotland bay. In
expectation of some raw nature we were surprised that there were quite
some people ashore in tents, and wondered if they were living there. We
went swimming to the shore and noticed there was some old concrete floor
along the shoreline, and some old stairs even though there were no
buildings. During the day more people arrived by water taxi or own boat
and some music started playing from the tents, one of the few sailors
anchored next to us told us that there would be a festival that weekend.
At about 14:00 we left the bay and headed north to Grenada, which would
approximately be 80 miles of sailing which we estimated as about 20
hours. We divided into two teams to take 4 hour shifts of sailing and
sleeping. On my first sleeping shift I was not yet able to sleep. I
closely listened to David and Elena when the collision warning of the
AIS sounded. When my next shift started David and Elena told me that
they changed the course to keep a safe distance to a tanker ship. The
sky was clear and there was almost no moonlight that night, so we had a
beautiful view at the stars. In the morning we suddenly saw a dolphin a
couple of meters besides us, and a group of them accompanied us for
about 10 minutes, with some smaller ones looking like the ones in
Harderwijk and some bigger ones that were about the size of a human
(maybe they were a small whale species). They were showing off by doing
some pretty jumps with their entire body out of the water. We even saw
some simultaneous jumps of two dolphins right behind each other. On
Sunday around lunch time we arrived in St. Davids harbour, and attached
Lotta to one of the moorings. After inflating our dinghy we paddled to
the pier and asked around for the harbor master and the customs and
immigration offices. The customs and immigration offices in the harbour
were closed, and we decided to try again on Monday.

On Monday we went for some hiking through the
forest along the coast line and we noticed some places where piles of
empty shells were stacked. Somewhat further we noticed a gap in the rock
which easily enabled us to walk to the neighboring bay. There we saw an
old looking small stone tower. What is this tower doing here? It looked
like a foundation of an old windmill or lighthouse, or was it just part
of a fancy BBQ grill? Further in the second bay we noticed a small
fishing boat lying ashore between the trees with some nets. It seemed to
be abandoned as the wooden inner structure was rotten and damaged quite
a lot, but probably the reinforced plastic covered outer skin would
still be watertight. After some attempts we were able to throw a coconut
out of a tree, and we carefully picked it up from under the tree.

On Tuesday we went to st. George, the capital of
Grenada. We walked to the main road that runs along the coastline, and
waited for one of the public transport vans that we already knew from
Trinidad.  Usually on the main roads you only have to wait about 5
to 10 minutes for a van going in the right direction. The vans were
almost always some Toyota Hiace model of about 5 meters long, but
remarkably they fitted 19 people including the driver. By using four
rows of four seats, with foldable seats that closed the corridor, and
two seats next to the driver. Many locals entering the vans seem to know
each other (especially on the island Cariacou) and are conversating in
the van. Some bus drivers are up for a conversation as well and invite
you sit in front of the van. Sometimes locals also handed a package
people in the van which they should deliver somewhere along the route.
This all happened very laid back and without much conversation, and we
sometimes saw packages being delivered at some house along the road.

St. George is a nice town lying on the hills
around a bay. On one of the hills a fortress was built long ago during
colonial times and from there was a very nice view over the city. It was
very typical to see that a small container terminal was built right
next to a yachting harbour, and to see the gigantic cruise ship lying on
the other side of the fortress. We visited the Grenada national museum,
it showed some paintings of the first inhabitants arriving on Grenada
by canoo’s bringing some animals with them. How would the life of these
people have been? Arriving on an island without any roads, towns,
supermarkets and electricity; with only wild life and plants. Our pilot
sailing guide states that the Arawaks, one of the first groups of people
living on the Caribean islands, invented the hammock, a smart invention
if you are living in the jungle.

On Thursday we sailed to Hog Island, a tiny
island (smaller than 1 km^2) only 100m away from Grenada. There was no
one living on this island, except for some animals including cows that
surprised us while we were sitting on the beautiful beach of this
island. It was also a very nice place to do some relaxed snorkling and
we spotted very many beautiful fish along the rocks at one side of the
beach and the coral reefs.

On Saturday 12 january we went sailing to Grenada
to Cariacou, we left in the morning and planned to arrive before
sunset. However we had to sail more closed hauled than expected and had a
lot of waves against us, which also made the sails work less efficient
due to the pitching motion of the ship. Thus we were only having a speed
of about 2 to 3 knots, and we arrived in Tyrells bay after sunset. The
next days we went for some hiking on the island and visited the main
town Hillsbourough. We met a group of Americans, and they invited us for
some drinks on their chartered catamaran. We had a fun evening sharing
some of our stories and we got a tour on the catamaran. On Tuesday we
sailed to a mooring place between Sandy Island and Cariacou. The water
there was very clear and so we did a lot of snorkling and saw many fish
such as groupers, parrotfish, hedgehog fish, goatfish, morays, stingrays
and sometimes also barracudas, sharks, lion fish and sea turtles.

On Thursday 17 january in the morning we started
sailing to Guadeloupe, somewhere along the way the mariphone language
changed from predominantly English to French. On 20 january in the late
afternoon we reached the harbour of St Francois by daylight, so we could
see coral, rocks and other shallows. At entrance of the harbour we
directly noticed the French atmosphere. There were many huge very well
maintained (racing) catamarans lying at the harbour entrance. The
harbour was already very full, but the French speaking Capitainerie
guided us to a place to stay for the night. We suddenly felt more like
being in southern France than on te Caribean, would the rest of
Guadeloupe be so French as well? We met a couple of about our age who
recently bought the boat next to us, and were doing maintenance work.
The steel hull and two mast were common features with Lotta. We had some
drinks together with them and some of their friends, and we showed them
some pictures of the elaborate maintenance work done on Lotta.

By Michaël

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